After my previous experience with escape rooms, I didn't know what to expect from EscapeXperience. When I walked into EscapeXperience's single red door, I expected some kind of warehouse with vintage furniture and a mysterious feel. Instead, the interior is decked out with plenty of modern seating, a table full of puzzles, and a wall of clocks.
The escape room owners gave us a rundown of our upcoming experience. We were to assume the roles of investigators during a string of strange disappearances. But before we started the room, we had to get into character—EscapeXperience offers boas, fedoras, gloves, and masquerade masks that you can wear during your investigation. We were also given a hefty briefcase, containing hints and clues for the series of puzzles.
Unlike other escape rooms I've been to, the puzzles actually start outside the room. This creates an air of unpredictability, and gives you a hint at the creativity to follow. Most escape rooms are limited to an enclosed space, but "Burlesque" throws a wrench in that concept.
When we got inside the actual escape room, it was cloaked in total darkness. We fumbled around to find the light switch and eventually turned it on. Once illuminated, the stunning, old-fashioned furniture gave the room an unmistakable aristocratic feel. Red velvet chairs lined the room, while a phonograph played music in the background that matched the spirit of the time period. After opening the briefcase, the puzzles began.
I really appreciated the work that the creators put into the look and feel of the room. Everything looks completely authentic. It feels as if you just step foot into a classic Agatha Christie novel, and you've just become the detective Hercule Poirot. That's what makes this room entirely immersive and loads of fun.
Not only was the design of the room impeccable, but so were the puzzles. Some escape rooms bombard you with puzzles as soon as you walk in the door—this makes you feel overwhelmed and clueless as to where you should begin. However, that isn't the case with "Burlesque." The puzzles are so well-planned that you can follow along and take each puzzle one at a time.
Just because the puzzles are completed one-by-one doesn't make escaping the room any easier. The puzzles still require the same amount of brainpower as puzzles in other challenging escape rooms. "Burlesque's" puzzles are just more organized, and take place in a logical order. In other words, when you solve one puzzle, that solution gives you the hint for another puzzle's answer.
You get one hour to finish the escape room, which is definitely doable. "Burlesque" comes with an ample amount of puzzles, so you might have to rush a bit at the end to get them done before the time runs out. My group finished with only about ten minutes left, so we cut it a bit close.
I don't have many negative thoughts about "Burlesque." Since I'm used to escape rooms with a bit more of a grungy feel, I was actually a bit taken aback by the room's pristine quality (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). The set looked amazing, but it would've been nice for it to have more of a creepy vibe. Adding something like fake cobwebs, a cracked mirror, or even leaving some dust on the furniture would give the room a mysterious ambiance.
The room also contains a lot of furniture. It definitely contributes to the atmosphere, but some of it can lead to red herrings if you're not careful. While it's not a dealbreaker to have a room filled with furniture and decorations, it can create distractions during an escape. However, some might think that this makes the puzzles even more challenging.
Melbourne, Australia is one of the world's best cities for escape rooms, and EscapeXperience definitely stands out. If you ever get the chance to visit Melbourne, book your escape on EscapeXperience's website.
Like other escape rooms, the price varies according to the size of your group. Larger groups lower the cost of a single ticket, so make sure you bring a lot of friends and family to your next escape room.